Vol. 7, no 24, Monday, July 16, 2007
The Convention on the Diversity of Cultural Expressions
IN THIS ISSUE :
UNESCO’s Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions came into effect on Sunday, March 18, 2007. At press time, 63 states had ratified the treaty. Latvia recently deposited its ratification instruments with UNESCO, thereby joining the ranks of Member States to the Convention.
More than ever, the mobilization campaign to encourage Member States who haven’t already done so to ratify the treaty must continue with commitment and conviction. The Convention’s legitimacy will be directly proportional to the number of countries from all parts of the world that ratify, accept, approve, or join the treaty.
Chaired by Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF), the 64th session of the Permanent Council of La Francophonie (CPF) was held on July 9, 2007, in Paris, France, bringing together the personal representatives of OIF heads of state and government.
Cultural diversity was on the meeting’s agenda, as the Permanent Council took the opportunity to look back on the first UNESCO Conference of Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions held on June 18 and 19, 2007. The Conference “marked the implementation of the International Fund for Cultural Diversity and the Intergovernmental Committee, of which 15 of the 24 members belong to OIF.” Mr. Diouf was quick to point out that this concerted effort by francophone members “perfectly illustrates our collective bargaining power.”
CPF members also looked at preparations for the 23rd session of the Francophone Ministerial Conference, to be held in Laos on November 20–21, 2007.
Read the OIF press release to learn more about the 64 th session of the CPF.
UNESCO director general Koïchiro Matsuura announced Beirut’s nomination as “World Book Capital 2009” at the conclusion of the selection committee meeting that began on July 3. Held at UNESCO headquarters, the meeting brought together representatives of the three main professional associations in the book industry and UNESCO.
In a press release issued after the meeting, UNESCO notes that the city of Beirut was selected “in ight of its focus on cultural diversity, dialogue, and tolerance, and its diverse and stimulating program.” The director general was delighted “to see that the city of Beirut, which is facing great challenges in terms of peace and peaceful coexistence, is recognized for its commitment to dialog, which is necessary more then ever in the region, and that the book is able to contribute actively towards this goal.”
Beirut is the ninth city to be designated World Book Capital, after Madrid (2001), Alexandria (2002), New Delhi (2003), Antwerp (2004), Montréal (2005), Turin (2006), Bogotá (2007), and Amsterdam (2008).
According to the press release, every year UNESCO and the three major branches of the global book industry—the International Publishers Association (IPA), the International Booksellers Federation (IBF), and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA)—designate a city as World Book Capital for the 12 months between World Book and Copyright Day (April 23). This initiative is a collaborative effort between representatives of principal stakeholders in the book sector and the cities that have committed themselves to promote books and reading.
“Creative Industries and Developing Countries: Voice, Choice and Economic Growth,” edited by Diana Barrowclough and Zeljka Kozul-Wright, was recently published by Routledge.
“How can culture and the market be married in a way that is favorable to developing countries?” The publisher’s response: “This book pushes the frontiers of the new development paradigm by arguing that developing countries can use their creative assets and energies as a source of economic growth—if they can better position themselves in the global economy.” This work, stresses the publisher, “turns on its head the polarized debate about commerce and culture, by taking a fresh look at some traditional activities whose intrinsic cultural value has for too long hidden their economic worth. By bringing together new theoretical ideas, country case-studies, and policy analysis, this book aims to show how developing countries can benefit from the emerging opportunities in global creative industries.”
Click here to learn more about the book.
UNESCO, in cooperation with the International Association for Media and Communication Research (IAMCR), will co-organize the IAMCR’s 50th Anniversary Conference from July 23 to 25, 2007, at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters.
The conference’s chosen theme—“Media, Communication, Information: Celebrating 50 Years of Theories and Practices,”—focuses on the research panorama, past and present. According to organizers, the last fifty years have seen a number of theoretical milestones and practical advances that relate the media to the inter- and multi-disciplinary fields of information and communication. They note that these various bodies of research have supplied analytical tools that cover the entire spectrum of media, information, and communications in a global perspective—from the production and the international circulation of news, data, images, and texts to their reception by a wide range of publics. They have critically examined such issues as public space and democracy, actor networks, and agency, and technological mediation and its modalities. Organizers claim that “major changes in the market and the political economy of the media in the context of globalization have altered perspectives on such issues as cultural goods, industries, and services, as well as e-learning industries.” Lastly, the conference organizers note that the themes of many conference workshops reflect the liveliness of such intellectual debate.
Cultural diversity is one of the many subjects that will be discussed during this conference. One of the workshops will deal with the theme of “Radio and Cultural Diversity,” while another plenary workshop is entitled “Keynote Dialog on Cultural Diversity: Voices from the South.”
The detailed conference program can be consulted online, in English and French, by clicking on this link.
“Concerts, film, theater, and the great outdoors: whatever the weather, nothing can stop the Europeans from indulging in their favourite summer pastime—the festival,” declares the European Commission at the start of the festival season.
In a press release dated July 6, 2007, the Commission explains, “ Europe is all about diversity, creativity, and savoir-vivre. The EU invests in culture as a way to bring people together to celebrate these values.”
Couleur Café , an annual event on the Brussels’ cultural calendar, has just ended, but the Avignon Festival has only just begun. Running from July 6–27 this year, the French theater festival has been an annual fixture since its inception in 1947. This year the theme is writing.
The European Commission also points out that, this being a Europalia year, four months of events in Belgium and neighboring countries will be held from October 3, 2007, to February 3, 2008. Held every other year, this year’s theme is cultural diversity, celebrated through art, music, theater, dance, film, and literature.
Union des théâtres de l’Europe is another EU-sponsored festival. Young directors got a chance to shine at the Premières festival in Strasbourg last month, but for five lucky students the best is yet to come. They will work with Romanian director Silviu Purcarete in Venice for a three-week workshop running until mid-August.
The European Commission comments: “Festivals like these owe some of their success to the funds made available from EU budgets for culture (€400m for 2007–13) and media (€755m for audiovisual projects).”
Lastly, the European Union advises, “If you want to go on stage, the European talent exchange programme ( ETEP) could be your first step.” Acts are invited to audition by performing at the Noorderslag Weekend in January. ETEP festival organizers across Europe will then select the artists to be showcased, guaranteeing them spots in summer festivals around the EU. The press release concludes, “Funded by the EU, talent exchange provides a network of influential people working together to raise the profile of European music.”
If you are looking for news, documents, or events dealing with issues (financing, legislation, governance, politics) respecting cultural life (cultural activities, products, and organizations) in central and eastern European countries, the “Regional Observatory on Financing Culture in East-Central— The Budapest Observatory” website is a mine of information. Bookmark it today.
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